Skip to Content

Faial Azores: 14 amazing things you must do

Faial Azores: 14 amazing things you must do

Looking for the best things to do in Faial Azores? Then this list in which we share what to do in Faial is perfect for you.

The island of Faial in the Azores is one of the beautiful islands that make up the Central Group of the archipelago, and it is an incredible place to visit.

If you’re looking for picturesque coastlines, impressive landscapes, and lush greenery, you’ll be able to find it here.

Read on to discover more about all of the things you can do while visiting this serene island.

There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are deeply grateful) at no extra cost to you.

Overview of what there is to see in Faial

Here’s an overview table of all the best things to do in Faial that we cover in this post.

Read on for a short description of all the Faial highlights.

Best things to do in Faial

Price Opening hours Highlights
Caldeira Faial Azores, Portugal Hike around the Caldeira

Free

24/7

The beautiful and dramatic views you can take in as you hike around the crater

Capelinhos Faial Azores, Portugal Visit the lunar landscape of Capelinhos

Visiting the area is free, the price for the museum is €10 per adult / €5 for children aged 7 to 14 and 65+

The area is open ’24/7, but the museum has limited hours depending on the time of year you are visiting, and the day

The sight of the barren landscape is one-of-a-kind for the Azores, which typically has a lush green environment

Explore Horta

Free

24/7

Visit the Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Angústias

Horta Harbour Faial Azores Portugal Admire the mural paintings and boats at Horta Marina

Free

24/7

The hand-painted murals that have been created over the years are not just a pretty sight – they’re a historic marker as well

Have a drink at the legendary Peter’s Café Sport

Free to enter. Menu items range from €1 to €18.

Sunday through Thursday 9AM -12AM, Friday and Saturday 9AM to 1AM

The opportunity to dine in a historic cafe, beloved by locals and travelers alike

humpback whale Go dolphin and whale watching

Varys, but an average half day boat tour can cost around €60

Varies depending on what company you are booking with

The opportunity to see a high number of whales and dolphins from either the shore or from a boat

Visit the Porto Pim Whale factory museum

€ 4

Monday – Friday, from 10:00am to 5:00pm from November through March, and from 10:00am to 6:00pm the rest of the year

The permanent collection of the museum includes all of the original machinery that was used when it was an active factory

Visit the Porto Pim aquarium

Children under 6 years old can enter for free. The smallest ticket you can is between €2 and €4 depending on your age, and there are additional experiences you can add on that will increase that price by a small amount

The hours vary throughout the year, but generally it is closed on Mondays and on holidays, and open the rest of the week between 10:00 am and 5:00pm with brief closures around 1:00pm.

The opportunity to learn about local marine life in depth

Espalamaca lookout Faial Azores Portugal Enjoy the view from the Espalamaca lookout

Free

24/7

The incredible views of the island

Porto Pim Faial, Azores, Portugal Get a tan in Porto Pim

Free

24/7

The sugar-white sands of the beach provides a beautiful photo opportunity

Porto Pim with the Whaling Museum and Monta da Guia on the right Admire the view of Monte da Guia

Free

24/7

The beautiful views of Porto Pim and Horta

Praia do Almoxarife Horta Azores Portugal Relax at Praia do Almoxarife

Free

24/7

The black lava beach

Go birdwatching at Morro de Castelo Branco

Free

24/7

The opportunity to hike while looking out for birds and other wildlife

Go hiking

Free

24/7

Faial is a fantastic place for hiking and exploring the outdoors

Best things to do in Faial

Caldeira Faial Azores, Portugal
Caldeira Faial

Hike around the Caldeira

  • Highlights: The beautiful and dramatic views you can take in as you hike around the crater
  • Price: Free
  • Opening hours: 24/7
  • Tip: You can hike around the Caldeira itself, but if you want to descend into the crater you’ll have to do so with a guide

The magnificent 2-kilometer wide Caldeira crater is a beautiful sight, and a can’t-miss excursion on your trip to Faial.

One of the most popular ways to experience the crater is by hiking the 8-kilometer trail that will take you around it, taking in the breathtaking views from every angle.

The Caldeira will occasionally have low cloud coverage.

This would not be the best time to go. It is spectacular to see the clouds descend into the crater but you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the distant views you see on other days. Doing the trail with limited visibility can also be dangerous as at several parts the path is narrow and runs close to the edge of the crater.

Be sure to check the weather forecast before driving up.

Currently there are no live webcams or other up-to-the-minute resources that can tell you exactly what the conditions are. But if you see that the top is shrouded in clouds, you better postpone your plans.

You can also experience the Caldeira simply by stopping by and taking pictures from the lookout point.

If you visit this area, note that it’s a good idea to bring rain jackets and wear shoes that are weather-resistant.

The weather here can change somewhat quickly, so it’s a good idea to be prepared.

Capelinhos Faial Azores, Portugal

Visit the lunar landscape of Capelinhos

  • Highlights: The sight of the barren landscape is one-of-a-kind for the Azores, which typically has a lush green environment
  • Price: Visiting the area is free, but the price for the museum is €10 per adult / €5 for children aged 7 to 14 and 65+. When you buy tickets for the museum you can also go up the lighthouse.
  • Address: Farol dos Capelinhos Capelo, 9900-000 Horta, Portugal
  • Opening hours: The area is open 24/7, but the museum has limited hours depending on the time of year you are visiting, and the day
  • Tip: Visit the futuristic visitors center to start. Not only can you learn about the area, but you can experience the interesting futuristic architecture as well.

In stark contrast to the vibrant blue and green hues that are so prevalent in the Azores, the Capelinhos Volcano has a unique environment that more closely resembles a lunar landscape than a tropical island.

The eruption in question occurred over 50 years ago, and lasted for approximately 18 months.

The prolonged eruption deposited ash and other debris, leveling the surrounding area and damaging nearly everything – the Lighthouse of Ponta dos Capelinhos was left standing and remains an iconic site to visit to this day.

If you visit, you can start off at the incredibly unique museum and visitor center – it was built underground so as not to disturb the landscape. It gives the structure a futuristic feel. You can also hike here and experience the area that way.

The route is approximately 3 kilometers and begins and ends at the visitor center.

Explore Horta

  • Highlights: Visit the Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Angústias
  • Price: The church is free to visit. Bring some cash for food or drinks or any activities that you may want to do such as stopping in one of the local stores
  • Address: Horta, Faial Island Portugal
  • Opening hours: 24/7
  • Tip: You can explore Horta by scooter – rent one for €20 and move around the town in a unique and fun way!

Horta is the major town on the island of Faial, and it is full of things to do.

You can walk through the town taking in the historic and cultural sites. There are various shops, bars, and restaurants. Be sure to venture down to the marina where you will find several small eateries.

You should also take the time to visit the Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Angústias, a beautiful church that was built over four centuries ago.

It was made by Josse van Huerter, a Flemish settler who was the first to come to Faial and begin colonizing the island. He and his wife lived there for many years and had the church built during that time.

Although the exact date is unknown, the construction likely happened in the 1460s or 1470s.

Horta Harbour Faial Azores Portugal

Admire the mural paintings and boats at Horta Marina

  • Highlights: The hand-painted murals that have been created over the years are not just a pretty sight – they’re a historic marker as well
  • Price: Free
  • Address: Horta Harbour, Horta, Faial Island Portugal
  • Opening hours: 24/7
  • Tip: The Horta Marina is a great place to watch the sunset with Pico island in the background

The Horta Marina is a major port – not only today, but throughout history as well.

The geography of the area creates an ideal stopping point for ships traveling long journeys across the Atlantic as the Azores are really in the middle of the ocean.

Because of this, many sailors have spent time in Horta and you can see evidence of the unique mark they left on the city to this day when you view the vibrant and colorful hand-painted murals lining the walls in and around the marina.

It’s not known who the first person to create a painting was, but soon it became a tradition and sailors passing through would paint something as tradition held that if you painted something there, you would have good luck – something sailors would want to ensure before setting out on another leg of their journey.

As you walk around the harbor, you can see images and motifs representing various cultures from around the world.

Peter's Café Sport at the harbor in Faial
Peter’s Café Sport at the harbor in Faial

Have a drink at the legendary Peter’s Café Sport

  • Highlights: The opportunity to dine in a historic cafe, beloved by locals and travelers alike
  • Price: Free to enter. Menu items range from €1 to €18.
  • Address: Rua José Azevedo “Peter”, Nº 9 9900-027 Horta
  • Opening hours: Sunday through Thursday 9AM -12AM, Friday and Saturday 9AM to 1AM
  • Tip: If you want to dine here, it is strongly recommended that you make a reservation in advance

Peter’s Cafe Sport has been a Faial island staple for over a century.

It serves as a familiar central destination for sailors passing through the Azores, and has provided them with information, as well as a place to rest and get a nice meal.

Today you can visit Peters’s Cafe and experience their famous hospitality for yourself! If you drink alcohol, you can sample some of the cafe’s homemade gin while you’re there.

In addition to the food and drinks you can savor while there, you can also pop into the museum and learn about the history of the cafe and the history of the area that surrounds it.

The cafe also facilitates whale watching tours and other activities such as kayaking or snorkeling tours.

Read Also:

humpback whale
Bultrug walvis

Go dolphin and whale watching

  • Highlights: The opportunity to see a high number of whales and dolphins from either the shore or from a boat
  • Price: Varies, but an average half-day boat tour will cost around €50-€60
  • Address: the boat tours start mostly from the marina
  • Opening hours: Varies depending on what company you are booking with
  • Tip: Book your whale or dolphin watching boat trip in advance to ensure you get the experience you want

The Azores is home to countless incredible marine life, and that includes the whales and dolphins that you may be able to see on your trip.

If you’re looking for a free option, you can look out from one of the overview points on the shore using binoculars and see if you get lucky.

However, if you’re looking for a more up-close-and-personal experience or want to increase your chances of seeing these impressive animals, you can book one of several whale or dolphin watching boat tours for a more immersive opportunity.

There’s no shortage of the type of marine life you might see on these tours. For example, if you’re looking for whales, you’ll be able to see varieties like sperm whales or pilot whales which are the most common types of whales to see in the area.

However, there’s a good chance that you’ll see more than just those two, as the waters of the Azores are home or serve as a stop-over point to over 30% of all types of whales.

If you are hoping to take a tour, you’ll likely be able to find one that fits your schedule.

Whether you’re looking for  a half day excursion, or a multi-day immersion, you’ll be able to work with one of the local companies to make that happen.

Visit the Porto Pim Whale factory museum

  • Highlights: The permanent collection of the museum includes all of the original machinery that was used when it was an active factory
  • Price: €4
  • Address: Monte da Guia, 9900-000 Horta
  • Opening hours: Monday to Friday, from 10:00am to 5:00pm from November through March, and from 10:00am to 6:00pm the rest of the year
  • Tip: Guided tours can enhance the experience! If you would like to take one, it must be booked in advance

The Porto Pim Whale Factory Museum is the place to go to learn about the history of whaling as it relates to the Faial island’s culture and that of the surrounding islands as well.

Whaling had huge socio-economic influences and was a major industry of the area.

The museum seeks to pay tribute to that era, while educating visitors about it as well.

The factory that was the purpose of the building that now houses the museum was essentially a processing plant for the whales that were caught – they would extract oil and grease, as well as other parts of the whale such as the meat or the bones.

Many different parts of the whale were used and had economic value.

You can see a female sperm whale skeleton in one of the rooms.

Visit the Porto Pim aquarium

  • Highlights: The opportunity to learn about local marine life in depth
  • Price: Children under 6 years old can enter for free. Those under age 14 or over 65 pay 2€. Everybody else pays 4€. It is possible to buy combi-tickets with the whaling museum or Capelinhos.
  • Address: Monte da Guia, 9900 Horta, Ilha do Faial
  • Opening hours: The hours vary throughout the year, but generally it is closed on Mondays and on holidays, and open the rest of the week between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. Outside the tourist season, there are brief closures at 1:00 pm.
  • Tip: You can book a private tour for a small group, but these must be booked at least 48 hours in advance

The Porto Pim aquarium and Live Fish Station is not a traditional aquarium that is set up to be bright and colorful and entertaining.

Instead, this facility strives to be educational and work towards studying and conserving marine life.

This facility is an active working location, so don’t expect excessive frills when you tour.

The displays consist of three tanks that contain various types of common local marine life – the exact species and specifics will vary depending on when you go as the facility also serves as a marine life rehabilitation center.

Scientists here will study the animals and help them if necessary, before setting them free again or sending them to other aquariums throughout the world to further their educational efforts.

The small fee you spend when you enter goes back towards the facility as well.

Espalamaca lookout Faial Azores Portugal
Espalamaca lookout

Enjoy the view from the Espalamaca lookout

  • Highlights: The incredible views of the island
  • Price: Free
  • Address: 9900-122 Horta
  • Opening hours: 24/7
  • Tip: Try to visit at a time when there’s little to no fog to increase the chance of seeing more of the view including the nearby Mount Pico

The Espalamaca lookout is a fairly popular destination and with good reason!

The views you can experience from this lookout point are nothing less than remarkable, and this lookout is often considered one of the best.

When you’re standing here you have the chance to see beaches, historic sites, and more of the region’s lush greenery.

If you visit on a day with little to no fog, you have even more of an opportunity to see not only what the island has to offer but what the rest of the ocean and some of the neighboring islands have to offer as well.

Porto Pim Faial, Azores, Portugal
Porto Pim

Get a tan in Porto Pim

  • Highlights: The sugar-white sands of the beach provides a beautiful photo opportunity
  • Price: Free to visit the beach
  • Address: the beach lies within walking distance from the city center of Horta
  • Opening hours: 24/7
  • Tip: Not only can you relax and tan here, but you can also see the marine life here up close: this is also a fantastic spot for snorkeling!

The beach of Porto Pim is a great place for your traditional beach experience – but you can experience those things while basking in an exceptional environment.

The bay has been a popular site ever since the first European settlers came to the island.

You can lay out on the sand and get a tan, or if you’re a more adventurous type you can try your hand at windsurfing or diving.

The average temperature of the water in the summer is about 22ºC,

There are also restaurants and bars nearby so you can enjoy some delicious food in between soaking in the sunshine.

The beach also offers amenities that include:

  • Lifeguards
  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Outdoor parking
  • A nearby bar and restaurant
Porto Pim with the Whaling Museum and Monte da Guia on the right
Porto Pim with the Whaling Museum and Monte da Guia on the right

Admire the view of Monte da Guia

  • Highlights: The beautiful views of Porto Pim and Horta
  • Price: Free
  • Address: Monte Guia can be found right next to Horta and Porto Pim
  • Opening hours: 24/7
  • Tip: Arrive early to avoid crowds, or come late to enjoy the sunset

Located near Porto Pim, Monte da Guia is a volcanic cone from which you can see beautiful views of the town of Horta and the surrounding area.

The Porto Pim Whale Factory Museum is located at the foot of the mountain.

Not only is the sight of the mountain beautiful, but the views you can get from the lookout point at the top of the mountain are incredible as well.

Praia do Almoxarife Horta Azores Portugal
Praia do Almoxarife offers stunning views on Mount Pico

Relax at Praia do Almoxarife

  • Highlights: The black lava beach
  • Price: Free
  • Address: the beach can be found 5 km away from the city of Horta. Drive for 8 minutes on the EN1-A.
  • Opening hours: 24/7
  • Tip: When the weather is nice, Mount Pico provides a great view while you can relax and listen to the sounds of the ocean

Faial has many beaches, but the unique black sand of Praia do Almoxarife makes it one of the most unique destinations.

You can relax here, meditating to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, or you can take some great photographs with Pico mountain on the background.

Even if you’re not a professional photographer, the natural beauty of the landscape will make it easy to take a great shot.

The beach also offers amenities that include:

  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Restaurants
  • Campsite
Morro de Castelo Branco Faial Azores Portugal
Morro de Castelo Branco

Go birdwatching at Morro de Castelo Branco

  • Highlights: The opportunity to hike while looking out for birds and other wildlife
  • Price: Free
  • Address: drive South on the EN1-1A for 14 minutes
  • Opening hours: 24/7
  • Tip: If you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind, this is the perfect thing for you to do

The Azores is home to a variety of species of birds, which makes it a great place if you enjoy bird watching.

You can take the trail down from the main road until you arrive at a rock formation that follows the coastline.

The trail is beautiful and definitely adds to the experience, but if you would rather drive, you can do that as well.

There is a parking lot at the coastline which is the end point of the hike.

Don’t forget to bring binoculars, as they’ll come in handy if your purpose for this hike is to spot some of the seabirds. You’ll also be able to see some flowers and other greenery that is local to the area.

Hiking is a great way to explore Faial Island
Don’t worry, there are also shorter hikes on Faial Island

Go hiking

As you may have noticed from some of the earlier items on this list, Faial is a fantastic place for hiking and exploring the outdoors.

Whether you’re looking for an easy trail or something with more of a challenge, you’ll be able to find it here.

Many of the easy trails are genuinely on the easier side, note that some of them may test you if you are afraid of heights.

Not all trails are easy though. Some of them have steep inclines and or descends as they take you through the dramatic mountainous landscape.

We therefor advise you to wear proper hiking gear such as hiking leggings and hiking shoes.

 

How to get to Faial

By plane

There is a small airport located on Faial, just 10 minutes outside of the main city of Horta.

It offers flights to Lisbon and to some of the other Azores islands.

Learn about traveling between Azores islands here.

Ferry

You can also travel to and from Faial by ferry.

This mode of transportation is available throughout the year. The boats travel between Faial, Pico, and Sao Jorge.

The frequency of the trips varies so it’s advisable to double check the data for each trip you are planning on making.

The exact duration varies as well, but generally the trip between Faial and Pico lasts about 30 minutes, and the trip between Faial and Sao Jorge is about one hour long.

How to get around in Faial

During your trip to Faial, you will likely find that the easiest way to get around is by car.

Public transportation exists on several of the Azores islands, but they often have very sparse schedules.

Taxis can be great options, but if you need to take more than one or two, the cost will start to add up so this method of transportation tends to be expensive.

As a great alternative, you can rent a car. This gives you all the freedom in the world and you’re not stuck to anyone else’s schedule.

You can also drive late at night or early in the morning without worrying about securing a taxi at those unusual hours.

If you do plan on renting a car, it’s advisable to book the rental prior to your arrival on the island. This way you can ensure you are getting the kind of car you’re comfortable driving.

It’s also a good idea to select a car that’s on the smaller side.

Some of the roads on the island are narrow and include sharp turns, which can make it difficult when you need to pass by a car coming the other way. By renting a smaller vehicle you make the experience of driving on the island not any more stressful than it needs to be!

Conclusion

Faial Azores is a beautiful island with a lot to offer.

Whether you are tanning on the beach, hiking the stunning Caldeira, grabbing a bite to eat at Peter’s Cafe, or hoping to catch a glimpse of dolphins or whales, you’ll be able to do it on Faial Island while surrounded by picturesque natural beauty.

If you are traveling to the Azores, check out our Azores travel guide which will help you planning an unforgettable trip.

7 reasons to take that cruise to Antarctica
← Read Last Post
Han River Seoul South Korea
Best Airbnb in Seoul: 15 amazing places to stay in 2021
Read Next Post →
Comments are closed.